More than 20 people died of drowning and in boating accidents in Montana this spring and summer and the heavy snowpack, spring rains and swollen rivers were partly to blame.

The first drowning of the year occurred on May 7 in the Yellowstone River when a Billings fisherman's boat capsized downstream from Huntley.

State Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say 10 people died in rafting or boating accidents. Three people were swept away by floodwaters and later in the season, several drowned while swimming in lakes or ponds.

FWP says this year's boating-related deaths are above the state average of seven, but fewer than the 14 reported in 2008.

FWP recreation manager Ron Jendro says water-related fatalities usually come to an end in September.

Associated Press